Jock itch also known as tinea cruris is a fungal infection which affects the skin in the areas of the inner thighs, genitals and buttocks. This type of infection generally appears as a ring shaped rash that is both red and itchy.
Jock itch is so named because people who sweat excessively such as athletes or jocks are known for developing this particular rash quite often. It is also quite common in individuals who are overweight. That is not to say that only these people can develop jock itch as anyone can suffer from this infection.
Although jock itch is often uncomfortable and can become quite annoying it is usually not a serious problem. One exception to this however may be individuals who have weakened immune systems. The best way to treat jock itch is to keep the area of the groin as clean and dry as possible. Antifungal ointments are also beneficial for relieving the itching and burning that often accompany this type of infection.
The most noticeable symptoms which may indicate the presence of jock itch include itching and redness in the areas of the genitals and inner thighs and possibly even extending to the anal area. A burning feeling may also accompany this redness and itching and the skin may appear to be flaky or peeling. Wearing underwear or other types of clothing which are tight may be uncomfortable or painful during this time and walking or other forms of exercise may make symptoms worse.
A fungus known as dermatophyte is what generally causes the development of jock itch. These organisms are microscopic and are always present on the skin however as long as the skin is kept clean and dry they do not usually cause any problems. When certain areas of the skin are excessively moist, such as from excessive sweating, it allows this fungus to spread resulting in the fungal infection known as jock itch.
Other infections which are known to be caused by the same type of fungus include athlete’s foot and sometimes even ringworm of the scalp. In some cases athlete’s foot may even spread to the groin area to cause jock itch.
Jock itch can be transferred from one person to another through the use of towels which have been contaminated by the infection. Other ways of spreading this infection include sharing clothing or having sexual intercourse with someone who has this infection.
The organisms which cause jock itch live in areas which are moist and enclosed. Areas that are known to sweat heavily such as the groin area are especially susceptible to these conditions. When the area sweats heavily it washes away the natural oils in the skin that are produced to kill this and other types of fungus. This in turn makes developing jock itch and other infections much more likely. Although jock itch affects men much more than women however women can develop this sometimes painful infection as well.